Thursday, February 13, 2014

435 of 1001 Albums: The Black Keys' Brothers

The Black Keys would find a lot of popularity with their album Brothers, when it released in 2010. I'm sure you've heard the popular tunes like "Tighten Up" and "Howlin' For You" that are on the album, but the album has a lot of songs that are enjoyable probably even more so than the singles they would release off this album. It mixes the alternative rock sound with some old school bluesy sound that projects the talent, but also gives it a modern vibe.

History: This album was a massive success. The band already had released five studio albums prior to Brothers, but this one would bring commercial and critical fame. It would win three Grammy awards the following year as well. The album comes during a rough time for the band and after there was a near break up. The serious lyrics that deal with heartache and other emotions reflect the own happenings in the band. The album though would get a lot of positive reviews though, and be a hit on the charts.

Vocals: Dan Auerbach is the guitarist and vocalist of the band. From what I know there are only two primary members, the other being the drummer. The vocalist has this very prominent southern voice, that almost makes this music have a southern rock vibe, though it never completely glides into that direction. Auerbach has a good voice, but he is also heavily distorted sounding throughout the album. Considering the other bands out there at the time like Kings of Leon who were flaunting the southern voice sound, I think it gives this band way more appeal with what Auerbach did with his vocals. He had to find something that stood out, and what he did was paint everything in the same tone, including his vocals with the distorted instruments.

Instrumentals: The guitar and the drums work together well to create this bluesy atmosphere that is captured in the songs. Also, if you're a fan of one song then you might like the rest as well. The drumming is very prominent, and I think that instrument is what drives the popularity of songs like "Howlin' For You" that starts off with a heavy rhythm. The guitar also does good of setting a vibe, and going with it as well. Not only is there talented vocals, but there are also talented musicians behind the music as well.

Recording: The recording sounds quite chaotic, but the guys ended up at a well known studio that The Rolling Stones had even recorded at. The guys were dealing with some personal issues during the time, particularly the drummer. The emotions are heavily channeled into the music, and I've always thought the more personal you can make your music the better chance it has of being around for a while because people will always relate to it. While the songs do have a modern vibe there is also something about the songs talented enough to keep this album playing for a long time.

Brother is a strong album from The Black Keys. There were times when the songs did run together though because the sound stays pretty consistent. While I like diversity, many might prefer getting songs within the same realm of tone. The Black Keys have always been a band I've been on the fence about, but this definitely has me more interested.

Rating 8.5 of 10.

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